George Christy Talks About Taverna Tony, Malibu Greek Orthodox Church, Lego Movie 2 and more!
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:19 pm
“Family above all,” says Tony Koursaris, founder of Malibu’s Taverna Tony, the most successful Greek restaurant on the West Coast which he tasked us 25 years ago to name.
He sold it this past September to restaurateur Zane Koss, who promised to keep everything as it was. Now he could devote time to his wife Liza, and her health concerns. Tony and Liza have a daughter, Irini, whose name translates as peace.
He wanted to spend time writing about his father, Spyridon, whose ecclesiastical wood carvings and elegant iconography paintings grace numerous churches in London, Athens and the Greek Islands.
“My father’s was a natural artistic talent. He carved a wood design within hours, and painted icons with beauty and precision surprisingly quickly.
“As we know, those of us who worship or visit Greek Orthodox cathedrals know how unusual the icons are to recreate.
“After losing my father, I decided to honor him by building the Malibu Chapel of St. Spyridon on a sunny grassy knoll near the sea. I worked on building this with stone masonry-expert friends and pew architects every afternoon for years when I was not hosting or taking care of business at Taverna Tony. This also took my mind away from personal problems I was encountering. Building this beautiful structure occupied my mind in another way from my restaurant work.
“I wanted also to symbolize my love for the people of Malibu, who’ve been supportive of me with their loyal devotion to Taverna Tony.”
In truth, the world came to Taverna Tony. Powerful film moguls: Jim Gianopulos; James Cameron, who considers it his office cafeteria; Jerry Bruckheimer; Barry Diller; David Geffen; Steven Spielberg, others.
Along with the salt-and-pepper of celebritydom: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who celebrated their wedding anniversary catered by Tony; birthday partying Berry Gordy; Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio co-staring in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood that is scheduled for release in July; John Stamos; Cindy Crawford and Randy Gerber; Mitzi Gaynor, who praises Tony’s roast spring lamb as the best she’s had; Tony Hopkins; Seal; Linda Thompson; Tony Danza; and CSI:NY’s Melina Kanakaredes.
“I’m comforted with this change in my life, knowing that I’m with my wife and memories of my gifted father,” adds Tony.
“While I loved the hard work behind and in front of Taverna Tony, I’m happy to be on my own.
“Who knows what awaits in the sweet thereafter.”